Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti

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Stamp with portrait of Shostakovich in later years.

The Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti (Сюита на слова Микеланджело Буонарроти, Op.145, 1974) is a cycle of song settings by Dmitri Shostakovich of eleven poems by Michelangelo Buonarroti, translated into the Russian language by Avram Efros (ru).[1] The original version (Op.145) is for bass voice and piano, the composer also produced an orchestrated version (145a).

Shostakovich started work on the songs after coming across Efros' recently published volume of the poems.[2] Shostakovich was dissatisfied with Efros' translations and privately asked the poet Andrei Voznesensky to see about making some new translations. Nevertheless it was premiered, using Efros' texts, on 23 December 1974 in Leningrad by the bass Yevgeny Nesterenko and pianist Yevgeny Shenderovich.[3]

Selected recordings[edit]

The piano version is less recorded. The original performers Yevgeny Nesterenko and Yevgeny Shenderovich made the first recording for Melodiya. Later recordings include Fyodor Kuznetsov, Yuri Serov (Delos) and John Shirley-Quirk.

The orchestral version, Op. 145a has been recorded several times, including the first by Yevgeny Nesterenko, with the USSR State TV and Radio Symphony Orchestra, under Gennady Rozhdestvensky (Melodiya), then Anatoli Kotcherga, Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester, Michail Jurowski (Capriccio), Robert Holl with the Orchestre National des Pays de Loire, Isaac Karabtchevsky (Calliope), Hermann Christian Polster with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Sanderling (Berlin Classics), Ildar Abdrazakov, with the BBC Philharmonic, under Gianandrea Noseda (Chandos), Yevgeny Nesterenko and USSR State TV and Radio Symphony Orchestra under Maxim Shostakovich (Moscow 1976).


  1. ^ Dmitri Shostakovich Catalogue: The First Hundred Years and Beyond - Page 552 Derek C. Hulme - 2010 Settings of eleven poems by Michelangelo Buonarroti, the original Italian translated into the Russian language by Abram Efros (see Note).
  2. ^ Pages from the life of Dmitri Shostakovich - Page 224 Dmitriĭ Ivanovich Sollertinskii, Ludmilla Sollertinsky, Liudmila Vikentʹevna Mikheeva - 1980 "Returning from Repino to his dacha near Moscow, Shostakovich embarked on his next opus. He had come across a recently published volume of the poems of Michelangelo Buonarroti in translations by Efros, the noted Soviet literary scholar."
  3. ^ Laurel E. Fay Shostakovich: A Life Page 282- 2005 "On 8 January 1975, Nesterenko and Shenderovich gave a repeat performance at the composer's Moscow apartment for a gathering of colleagues. Later in the evening, Voznesensky arrived with his translations, which he read to the approval of the assembly. Shostakovich found himself confronted with an embarrassing predicament; he had written the music to Efros's translation and, ..."